Lady Hiva and I decided to take Tau’aho on a trip to Italy for our anniversary and my birthday. It was an amazing trip—we took literally thousands of photos. Those, and accompanying stories, will be featured over the next few days on the blog…so come back!
A quick overview so you know what to look forward to—
Visited 9 cities (Rome, Orvieto, Montepulciano, Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Modena, Verona and Venice);
Ate pizza, pasta and other delicious Italian dishes until we were not hungry when it was time to eat again;
Hiked up thousands of stairs;
Used all forms of transportation possible—Walk (hundreds of miles to help with the extra weight from food), Car (over 1000 miles), train, metro, boats (of all forms), and of course the plane;
Admired art and ancient cathedrals;
Stayed in a castle, bed and breakfasts, hotels…
And most of all we enjoyed being with each other.
We made our flight to Rome from Istanbul via Ukraine (that airport is still so clean and easy for children). Luckily there were no incidents of poop rolling around on the floor as we flew! However, I did have a few attacks of claustrophobia! When we boarded the plane the airline—for some strange reason can never seat us together—we saw we were on the same row, but opposite sides of the plane. That was not a problem, right? We would just trade spaces with the people between us. I ended up with Lucky the third seat in against the window. Then before we could ask the non-English speaking Vietnamese businessmen yelling into their cell phones trying to get in the last deal before they had to switch off their phones, I was stuck.
To add onto that, the engines had not started and the cabin was HOT—especially being boxed into a hole with a wiggly toddler who was also sweating. Now, I am not sure where my claustrophobia comes from, Lady Hiva laughs and tells me it is only mental. I agree with that. However, the only way I can get myself to not panic is have air blowing on me, or be able to see a way out of the situation. In this case I had neither. As the minutes dragged on, my sweat dripped down my brow and back. All I could focus on was my trapped feet and the big man (yes big for an Asian) whose waving arms were violating my already cramped space. Finally, after I was about ready to explode the man ended his call and realized Tau’aho was reaching for Lady Hiva and he offered to change seats…phew crisis avoided for now!
We landed in Rome and the driver waiting for us took us on a tour of the Eternal City to our hotel in the heart of the city. The ruins in contrast with the modern Italian buildings promised an adventurous trip. The first item of business was to find some authentic Italian food. We took the recommendation of the hotel attendant and ate at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that looked like someone’s house. It was delicious! Lucky enjoyed walking up and down the street while we ate talking at random to the strangers we passed by. He also wanted to pet all of the dogs that passed too. So many people would stop and wait for him to greet their animals and he would talk non-stop as we all watched his joy for animals.
Actually, this trip I realized how much Tau’aho reminds me of my brother Trevor. He has no fear of anything and even when we play hide and seek in the house and he jumps when we scare him, he just bursts into laughter. He is becoming quite the jokester and loves animals and rocks. I remember Madre telling Trevor when he was younger that he had to “choose his favorite two rocks” to take home and leave the rest. We literally had a space out the back door of the house with a rock garden from Trevor. Tau’aho is the same. We would come home and have rocks in our pockets, in our bathtub, in the bed, find rocks in his mouth, his hands, he shoes and in our suitcases. He spent hours of our trip scouring the cracks in cobblestones or in the gardens searching for the perfect rock!
|Fountain at Barberini Piazza|
|Our restaurant the first night|
We wandered from the restaurant to Trevi fountain, now under construction, and spent time walking in and out of little shops and ate gelato. One of the shops we went into was Giapetto’s shop complete with a wood carver making Pinocchio puppets.
|Trevi Fountain under Construction|
We needed to get our Omni-Rome passes (which we recommend to anyone) and on the way we found a beautiful Cathedral by accident and later realized it was the Basilica of St. John Latern—one of the four holy cathedrals of the Pope and the only one directly overseen by the pope. It was lavishly decorated and HUGE! We enjoyed exploring the area and seeing the larger than life statues and architecture of marble in all colors. Lady Hiva and I were able to figure which person was Peter because his statue held the “keys” to the kingdom.
|Basilica of St. John Lateran|
|I love the horses...|
We were impressed with our first few hours in Rome and couldn’t wait to explore it in the next few days.